My baby and HIE - a poem by Abbie Vaughan-Giggins

Poem FT

Abbie has written a poem about her experience of having a baby who suffered with HIE.

A c-section momma, you were taken without notice,

From my uterus to a tank while I was still under anaesthetic.

It took hours to get to you, transferred from another,

I walked the pain away, to be with my bubba.

Glaring into a tank, as I stand in front of my baby, my heart and my uterus were achy.

Feelings of helplessness, where’s the happiness and joy…when I cannot hold my baby boy.

Returning to a hotel many nights I’d get into a lonely bed.

I left my baby in special care, an empty car seat instead.

Feelings of guilt, that I could just ‘get up and go’.

Wondering if my baby knew me and would miss me when I go.

His environment has been giving, he has not needed to cry.

I have cried every-night as I said goodbye.

He has known such pain; he has felt cold like no other.

Can I help him de-medicalise, can I prevent every shudder?

Consultants have responded and anticipated his stats.

Will I know what he needs, will I know how he acts?

I’ve watched many babies, all with varying needs, never cry untouched, never missing a feed.

The sounds of NICU, of the HDU, have become quite soothing to me and to you

From reception staff to porters, everyone is so caring.

All checking in on our needs, extending a blessing.

Babies come and babies go. Some are successes but many have far to go.

Each family on their own journey, so lovely to see. But it’s never just my baby and me.

We met consultants, Drs, physios and S.A.L.T,

All with a special piece of their knowledge for our baby to impart.

All the things we take for granted; I’ve drunk in every last drop.

My boy’s ability to take milk, even his ability to cough.

What will it feel like when I take my baby home? Feelings of sadness, joy and fear.

Will I know what he needs, will I wake, will I hear?

Nurses have been caring for his every need - will I wake for the 2am feed?

He must be strong enough if they’ve said we can leave. But I can’t shake the thought as I continue to grieve.

I have grieved for the missed hours, the cuddles, the kisses.

Now is our time to go home and elate in our babies’ riches.

The journey has been long, ours shorter than others.

We’re all learning to care, some new but all Mothers.

Vaughan Giggins 1